Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Few Updates

So it’s been a while since I’ve has been…well, CRAZY! We are still waiting for our USCIS approval. They received our application on April 20th and they tell you it takes 1 ½ to 2 ½ months to get. We went for our fingerprints last Monday, which they schedule for you (which was only 3 weeks after the receipt date, which is pretty fast, I think) Recently, I’ve seen people reporting getting approval within about 6 weeks. We are hopeful this will be the case for us, which would mean we would receive it sometime the 1st week in June. Fingers crossed. This would be helpful in getting our notarization, certification, and authentication done earlier and allowing us to hopefully be able to send in our dossier early. My goal is to turn in our dossier the first part of July. However, we KNOW that this is all in God’s hands and that everything will be done in His perfect timing! But patience is not my best trait! "It is not for you to know the times and dates the Father has set by hi own authority." (Acts 1:7)

So fundraising…WOW! Can I just say that we’ve been doing this crazy fundraising thing for four months? Four months. That’s all!?! It is unbelievable to me that we have raised $21,000 already! I’m serious. How can this be? It is nothing short of a miracle. Again, I CAN NOT express how incredible grateful we are to God, first and foremost, but also to the people who have helped us out by spearheading fundraisers and for those who have so generously donated to our cause! Thank you! From the bottom of our hearts! Thank you! Speaking of “thank yous”, I so apologize that I haven’t properly and/or formally thanked all of you who have helped with these fundraisers and by donating. We HAVE received your money. We DO appreciate your efforts! Thank you! I am WAY BEHIND on writing thank you notes. I have the best of intentions. I really do. In the beginning, I sat down every Sunday and wrote notes for the donations that came in that week. I thought I had a good handle on it. But now I’m SO behind…like weeks. Months. BEHIND. So if you have contributed, please know that we are so grateful and that you WILL get a thank you note. Eventually! "With man it is impossible, but with God, all things are possible!" (Matthew 19:26)

We have just finished up a MAJOR fundraising event…the oh-so-dreaded GARAGE SALE!! For Natalie’s adoption, we held three, yes three, garage sales-one at home, one in Birmingham, and one in Tupelo (where Todd’s parents lived at the time). We raised a lot of money, but oh. My. Goodness. It was A LOT of work. We swore we would NEVER have another garage sale, as long as we both shall live. Well…I’m here to tell you, we did it again. Just one this time, but it was BIG! It was two weekends ago. And if it weren’t’ for a free massage the next day and a free vacation the week after, I might still be recovering! Talk about God’s perfect timing! (Long story on the free massage—it was a real one and by a professional! And the free vacation was a work trip for Todd—5 days at THE BEACH—no kids. Thank you very much!) So we did this Garage sale thing once again and we had SO. MUCH. STUFF donated to us from friends and neighbors. Stuff just kept pouring in! We held the sale for two days and the people just kept coming. We hardly had a break. We made over $3300 just selling mostly “small stuff”. And we still have several “big” items that we now have listed on Craigslist that we hope to sell to add to this total. I have to say, I AM ready to have my garage back…stuff, be gone!

The Noonday Jewelry party was also a success. We had a great turnout of ladies and sold lots of jewelry. Ten percent of sales went to our adoption fund, which turned out to be a little over $200. I am so grateful for Heather Loden for opening up her home and hosting this event! We are also so grateful for Belle Cromwell, who was the Noonday Ambassador for this party! She so generously and unexpectedly matched what was raised (plus some) from her own pocket--$300! Thank you so much, Belle!! So this party raised a little over $500 to help us bring Zack home! If you want to learn more about Noonday, order jewelry, or host a party, click here to visit Belle's website.

So after the garage sale we decided that we would take a break from fundraising for a little while. We now have enough money raised and saved to get us through everything up to the travel costs (we think/hope!) Well…seems God is ready for us to keep on truckin! We applied to do a Both Hands project a few weeks ago. I didn’t really know if we would be chosen to do it. For some reason, I expected we wouldn’t. Well, we got a call two days ago…WE'VE BEEN APPROVED! So, onward! Both Hands is a very cool thing! In a nutshell, Both Hands help families fund raise for their adoptions. A family gathers a team of volunteers and Both Hands coaches them to coordinate a service project fixing up a widow's home. The family and their team raise sponsorship for their day of service and the funds raised help an orphan be adopted into a forever family! More details about this project to come! We are very excited about this opportunity--not only about the chance to raise the remainder of the money we need to bring Zack home, but also for the chance to serve a widow while doing it! "Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand." (Philippians 2:4)

More to come with details about this project. Stay tuned…

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